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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PANGEA / HARVEST MOON SOCIETY:
SPLIT: 7”
Both bands are acoustic in the general Plan-It-X way, but at this point, I really can’t deal with folk punk, other than certain bands that fall under the grandfather clause (This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Carrie Nations, et al). Disclaimer time! If you’re still into folk punk, then you’d probably like this. If this were a cereal, it’d be Corn Flakes. –Maddy (Stress Domain/Griznar Music)


MISS, THE:
No Radio: CD
Noisy rock band mines the gray area between 100 Flowers and Jesus Lizard. Results aren’t too bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (Morphius)


MILES BETWEEN US:
self-titled: 7”
Hardcore, straight edge style. It even says so on the disc label. Straight edge… don’t you need a straight edge to chop and line up healthy gaggers of cocaine and/or speed? Hmm, I suppose not in this case. I’m guessing it means the X’s-on-your-hands, singers-pointing-to-the-sky-while-singing kind of straight edge. How silly of me to think of honkers initially. And I hope that those are tofu burgers sizzling on the barbecue grill as pictured on the other side of this disc label, because if they ain’t, some pissed-off bovines are gonna come down and violently mule-kick all your doors in until they find the offending parties… straight edge… good GAWD… –Designated Dale (Blatherskyte)


MIDNIGHT THUNDER EXPRESS :
self-titled: CD
Some very unabashed Thunders worship here. Sounds like every song could’ve made the LAMF final cut. For what they are, this ain’t too shabby. –Jimmy Alvarado (Empty)


MERMA, LA:
Saludos al Tirano: CD
Kinda weird listen here: Mexican punk rock with shades of spaghetti western music that, for some bizarre reason, reminds me of the Pogues even though they sound nothing like them. Although it was a good listen, I’ve definitely got to get more sleep. –Jimmy Alvarado (Cochebomba)


MELVINS, THE:
Hostile Ambient Takeover: CD
Jeezusss!! The fuggin’ Melvins are a bomb in the subway. Total sonic destruction, ear splitting guitars and drums to turn your brain to mush. The best thing they’ve done lately, and obliterates all the bands trying to stand in their shadow. My year-old son can’t get enough of this disc. The future looks bright. –Matt Average (Ipecac)


MDC:
Now More Than Ever: CD
I may be wrong, but I think a version of this CD was released a couple years back but it was extremely hard to get, they didn’t include “Missile Destroyed Civilization,” and the packaging was half as good. MDC are one of the undisputed progenitors of PC punk/hardcore. Looking back, they seem a little blunt – “Corporate Deathburger,” “Henry Kissmtassinger,” and their name – going mostly by Millions of Dead Cops and sometimes Millions of Damn Christians. But, it was this blunt force trauma that worked and was needed right out of the gate when Reagan was still in the White House. Absolutely to their credit, MDC were one of the first punk bands to devote almost their entire career to what may seem old hat right now but was ground breaking at the time: discussing immigrant rights, vegetarianism, the abuses of the CIA, police brutality, and the degradation of the environment, to name a few. Quite a few of the songs musically hold up, regardless if you don’t remember Kissinger being Nixon’s Secretary of State who openly proclaimed “The illegal we can do right now; the unconstitutional will take a little longer.” I think a lot of people gloss over the fact that some of the slower, acoustic, and country-tinged songs like “Skinhead” and “Chicken Squawk” are just as good, if not better from a point of view that the straight-ahead hardcore blasts, which tended to get the drums trapped at the same tempo. A welcome re-issue. –Todd Taylor (Beer City)


MDC:
Now More Than Ever: CD
The title says it all. In a time when self-appointed messenger from God, John Ashcroft wants to rip our civil liberties to shreds, Dick Cheney keeps trying to pad his bank account with the spoils of Alaska, and TomRidge’s color-coded homeland security system tells us if it’s orange we’re totally fucked, we need MDC. BeerCity presents thirty-one hardcore anarcho-protest songs from the dark days of the evil empire that spawned the New New World Order. Think of it as a hardcore time capsule from the ‘80s. But it’s not all “smash the state” and “kill the cop in yourself,” songs like “Deep in the Heart,” “Skinhead” and “Nazis Shouldn’t Drive” demonstrate a sense of humor that MDC’s contemporaries couldn’t match, paving the way for bands like NOFX and Anti-Flag. MDC is one of the few politically aware bands that insist you take them seriously and reward those who do with passion, intelligence, and humor. –jim (Beer City)


MDC:
Now More than Ever: CD
A greatest hits package that spans from 1980-2000. Once formerly the Stains based out of Texas, they changed their name when they found out there was a band with the same name in
East LA.
When they (with name changed) and DRI moved to SF, they became one of the bands of the scene that broke out throughout the world. They were at the forefront in the early eighties with their politically charged lyrics and brash hardcore attack. Their first album, Millions of Dead Cops, and the EP, Multi Death Corporations, was a must have at the time. I still pull those records out to this day. It’s nice to hear many of the same songs here without the cracks and pops. My copies are pretty worn from being played so much. It was probably hard to compile all these songs because everybody has their favorites. I appreciate the effort and I think this is a good listen. Now kids, go buy this before you waste your money on Ebay on the originals. –Donofthedead (Beer City)


MC5:
Human Being Lawnmower: CD
Studio outtakes and assorted live tracks from this essential group. If you’ve heard ‘em before, you know what to expect and this sure delivers. If you happen to be one of the five people on the planet who hasn’t heard anything by these guys, you really should get out more often. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bomp/Disaster/Alive/Total Energy)


MATCHEADS:
Backtracks 1980-1982: CD
This is a disc of what I assume are garage demo recordings of this band, apparently made famous by an appearance on a Killed By Death comp. Not quite sure why they were included on one of those comps, as the songs on this disc are pretty much middle-of-the-road garage rock in sound and not particularly interesting to boot. –Jimmy Alvarado (dcgarcia_96826@yahoo.com)


MASTER CONTROL:
self-titled: CD
A self-described “combination of old-school hip hop aesthetic, classic rock (which I personally hear zilch of, thankfully), and new wave blended with the methods of modern electronic production.” What that translates to is bass drum-driven new wave that would be thoroughly boring were it not for the use of robot voices throughout the entire disc. Don’t quite get the whole “fall of American culture” stuff, but the robot voices sure are cool. I’m a total sucker for robot voices. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.hsarecords.com)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Remedy: CD
People mention Husker Du and Leatherface when bringing up Manifesto Jukebox. I’d huck in a splot of Jawbox. Someone even name dropped, Mush, Leatherface’s masterpiece. Fellow Razorcake creator, Sean, walked in when I was giving this one of many listens and without making a joke, asked, “Is this Hot Water Music?” Hmmm. Maybe me ears aren’t hearing things right. Yeah, the vocalist sounds like he’s sandpapered on vinyl. The guitars can glisten and slice, but the tempos all seem to be in the same range. All the songs fold into one another without a whole bunch of distinction. Sure, it’s well played and they do a decent job of sounding desperate and taking a couple twists and turns, but it just doesn’t grab me, shake me, make me want to sing along, or make me want drink gasoline from a bottle or lend a closer ear. To me, it’s the difference between sterility and organic explosion. Manifesto Jukebox seem to be playing inside the craters that previous, better bands – bands that I’ve listened to and enjoyed for years on end – have cleared out. To check my ears’ calibration, I listened to this ten times over two weeks, steeled my nerves, scrunched my face, and listened to Remedy from tip to tail. Nope. Didn’t stick. –Todd Taylor (BYO)


MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
Remedy: CD
I hate to sound redundant and cliched, but the first word that comes to mind when listening to Manifesto Jukebox is intense (as defined by Webster: “Having or exhibiting a distinctive feature to an extreme degree” and also “Deeply felt; profound.”). Manifesto Jukebox’s distinctive feature is their undeniable aural rage that’s all-at-once passionate, precise, and, yes, profound. It’s most definitely pure punkrock kineticism in attitude, emotion, and delivery (but thankfully without all of the stylish and predictable bullshit antics that routinely permeate the punkrock airwaves today!). With this sonically endearing CD, my ears are appreciatively basking in an arousing assortment of sound that’s entirely riveting, uniquely original, and powerfully uplifting. Gravelly, anger-tinged vocals, jangly and urgent distortion-heavy guitars, power-surge undercurrents of bass-thumping splendor, and sporadic deafening bursts of volcanic percussion all intricately intermingle into one immense explosion of unstoppable energy (think Husker Du, Leatherface, and an entire regiment of Molotov cocktail-tossing seditionists). I swear to you, this is one of the most life-altering auditory experiences I’ve ever endured. So rise-up and meet the Manifesto Jukebox challenge as soon as humanly possible. Your ears will be eternally grateful! –Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (BYO)


LO-LITE:
Sidekicks: CD
Dirty sounding hipster blues somewhere between Pussy Galore and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The blues influence dominates the sound, which is a good thing. Better than most bands who do this stuff. –Matt Average (Slovenly)


LEFT WITH NOTHING:
Wishing in Reverse: 7”
What the kids call hardcore these days is nothing like what we old geezers called hardcore back in our days. Hardcore in the modern age is very (and I mean VERY) metal. The down strumming of the guitars. Double bass pedaling of the drums. The extreme baritone screaming. Man, my head started banging the instant the needle dropped down on this puppy. The riffing was heavy the way I like it. I love hearing double bass drums. That adds to the heaviness factor. This Tacoma, Washington band is very metal. They reminded me of many death metal bands I have heard through the years mixed with the band Strife. Anger management compressed into tiny little grooves for your enjoyment. Features former members from Trial, if that means anything to you. –Donofthedead (Excursion)


LAB RATS, THE:
Start Thinking: CD
Since this band is based up in the bay area, I would picture them perfectly at a
Gilman Street
show. These guys blew me away! I get goose bumps when I hear elements of Nardcore meets late eighties fastcore. Intensity that doesn’t waver. The speed without going into a blur. Punk rock that has the snottiness, speed, and musicianship that pulls it all together. They definitely kept my attention. I felt like I was back at the Cathay de Grande. If you don’t know about the Cathay, it was my Gilman back in the early-to-mid eighties in Hollywood. With the name they have chosen, I swear I was going to get to listen to some mediocre melodicore band. Loved to be proven wrong. I am a fan! –Donofthedead (New Disorder)


KUNG FU KILLERS:
Game of Death: CDEP
Okay, so the kung fu thing was getting tired five years ago and it doesn’t need to be brought back here, but this is a great little record. “Wasting Time” has me pining for the full-length. Also features a nice rendition of The Misfits “I Turned into a Martian” and a blistering cover of Black Flag’s “Room 13.” Rumor has it the members of KFK really are martial arts fanatics and are former hardcore heads from back in the day, but prefer to keep their identity a secret. I can’t figure out who they are, but I suspect “KFK Theme” holds the key… –jim (TKO)


KUNG FU KILLERS:
Burning Bush: 7”
Wha?!? Sounds a lot like the Adolescents “blue album” era. Bullshit, you say? Well, check the vocal delivery, guitar work, and how the music has that cruising feel. Now, are you convinced? My only gripe is this is two songs. Don’t hold out on us here! –Matt Average (TKO)


KOOPAS, THE:
When Opposites Attack: 7”
A six layer log of smelly EMOtional songs that smacks of trying (yes, trying) to lift late ‘70’s-era guitar riffs of the Ramones. I fucking pray that Joey and Dee Dee haunt your ass for this abomination. –Designated Dale (www.thekoopas.com)


KID WITH MAN HEAD:
Cassius Coleman: CD
There’s a picture of Gary Coleman superimposed as Muhammad Ali on the cover. Wasn’t a knockout to me. For some reason they reminded me of the Lemonheads. –Donofthedead (Boss Tuneage)


JOLT, THE:
self-titled: CD
Prime-grade English mod-punk from way back when that’ll whet the appetite of both the average Jam fan and the average punker with a jones for something good that predates Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Included in the deal are extra tracks from assorted singles/EPs and a great cover of “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?” Pretty up there on the recommendation list. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


JOHN WILKES BOOZE:
self-titled: 7”
This outfit rocks and rolls southern style while wielding a white-hot poker, swinging at your head punker style with the rasping and ripping “Whiskey and Pills” and cooling out on the flip with a tune called “Marc Bolan Makes Me Want to Fuck,” complete with slide guitar. I can totally see these guys raging onstage with Throw Rag or even Tom Waits. Like to see a full length from JWB, hell yeah! Even the name of the band kicks ass! –Designated Dale (Family Vineyard)


JOHN SPARROW, THE:
self-titled: CDEP
These guys in The John Sparrow have got to have some ‘Mats, Big Drill Car, All Systems Go!, or Scrimmage Heroes lying around their stereos. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s somewhat leaning in that direction, but the rwb (rock w/ balls) fails to come through on this here CD. Pretty decent recording, but I like to get my feet lifted off the ground when something’s trying to kick my ass through the speakers. I’ll be interested hearing a follow-up to this CDEP. And a free drink to the band member wearing the chimp mask on the inner sleeve (I’ll show you later, Tony). That’s just great. Why is it great? Because I said it’s fucking funny, that’s why. –Designated Dale (Johanns Face)


JFA / THE WORTHLESS / BLUE COLLAR SPECIAL:
Concrete Waves split : CD
During the early to mid-‘80s, my cousin Scott was a dare-devilish semi-pro skater who chaotically careened across many a plywood flux ramp in backyards and skateparks throughout the entire nation. I’d often accompany him to the local flux, which was situated right smackdab in the middle of a loblolly wilderness several miles outside of town. There in the heavy and humid summer heat, Scott would perform some of the most amazing aerial acrobatics on his splintered and chipped skateboard, occasionally bailing and hittin’ the bottom of the ramp full-force and body-first. I distinctly remember a well-worn, multi-stickered old jambox was always blaring the latest and liveliest California skatepunk cacophony, which provided the ultimate energy-enhanced soundtrack for an endless afternoon of spectacular death-defying skateboard feats. Yep, what ya have here is exactly the same kind of teeth-gnashing “old school” skatepunk bombast that inspired a sweat-drenched legion of diehard ollie-grindin’ enthusiasts to grab their boards and giddily hit the ramps a-runnin’ during the culturally retarded Reagan era. JFA (one of the indelibly inspirational originators of the skatepunk genre) and The Worthless and Blue Collar Special (two youthfully exuberant newer groups who passionately carry the skatepunk torch in the most frenzied of fashion!); three bands, three-million decibels of all-out raging fury, and fifteen bone-shattering songs about skating and being a social outcast in today’s fast-food, quick-service, throw-away society. What a raucously cool combination! –Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Disaster)


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